Hop Planting!

Between harvesting and dragging hoses everywhere around the farm, we haven't had many chances to blog... so we will try to catch up over the next few days with posting pictures showing everything that's been going on around the farm, starting with our first hops getting in the ground! Here's Matt working on the bed (the white stuff to the left are broccoli plants under row cover insect protection).

We bought virus free plants from Madison County AED, and hope to propagate out 120 to 200 hills next year from the 60 plants we are putting in this season.  The virus indexed plants were more expensive than standard rhizomes, but since we are going to attempt growing these organically, we thought it would make sense in the long run to try to minimize potential problems from the start (hops have some challenging disease issues in the northeast).  We didn't get them in last week due to the hot and dry weather, and we learned during this time that hops do not coexist well in close confines with their neighbors (this mat of hops took a half hour to untangle!)

We planted them into a nursery bed, which is just a temporary bed for them to grow in this first season.  Next spring, we will dig them up, divide the clumps of roots and rhizomes into 2 or 3 plants, and replant them at wider spacing in the hop yard.

Right after planting, we trained them up on their temporary trellis (which is only six foot posts).  In a real hop yard, the plants can grow 20 or more feet high, so the trellis is a lot more serious (think telephone poles).  We are starting small so we have time to save up for the trellising costs!

We laid our drip tape the low tech way today (rather than using the bed maker implement).  Matt just used one of his carpentry clamps, which anchors the roll on pretty much anything.

Here's looking back to the near complete nursery bed over the south field's fall crops.

Hopefully the weather continues to cooperate and we get good plant establishment this season so that we have more plants for next season!

More pictures and posts from the field will follow in the next few days!